Green plastics made from sugarcane are now being used to for 3D printing parts on the International Space Station (ISS). This technology allows astronauts aboard the ISS to manufacture tools and spare parts on their own without needing anything sent up from Earth. The bio-based polyethylene was chosen for its recyclability, chemical resistance, and flexibility.
The ability for astronauts to fabricate parts and tools on demand increases the safety of space missions. NASA also believes that 3D printing in space is an essential advancement for future manned missions to Mars. Further proof that the applications of plastic technology are, literally, out of this world.